I haven’t written in this blog in a while. I’d say it’s because I’ve been too busy looking after my six-month old child, but that would be a lie, especially as she sleeps from 8pm right through until the morning. I’ve just been procrastination incarnate. But here I am, back again, ready to write some nonsense for a very small audience – hurrah!
Today, I’m going to write briefly about some fantasy novels / series that I think you should read. Let’s face it, I mean fantasy series, not novels. When was the last time you saw a stand alone fantasy novel that wasn’t a prequel, or a Neil Gaiman book? Incidentally, while Neil Gaiman is great, I haven’t included any of his books in this blog, but maybe I will in a future entry to this.
FYI – there will be no plot spoilers in this, you will be glad to know.
The Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan
Well, obviously. I’ll get this one out of the way first. I’m not even going to try and sum up the plot of this fifteen volume (including prequel) opus. The Wheel of Time is, without a doubt, my favourite series of all time. Good versus evil, yin and yang, balance, free will, PTSD, gender equality and the human condition are all themes within this series. The world building is first class, the story is fantastic and the characters are lovable and hateable in equal measure. The series is also complete, which gives it a big advantage over some of the other epic fantasy out there – you’re not going to have to wait years to find out how it ends. Brandon Sanderson did a fine job finishing it after the tragic death of Robert Jordan, giving it the ending it deserved.
The Raven’s Mark – Ed McDonald
Another series that benefits from being complete, or at least for now it is; there is still massive potential for many more books set in this wonderfully broken world. The story follows Ryhalt Galharrow as he carries out work on behalf of Crowfoot, one of the morally duplicitous Nameless who are basically gods, in their fight against the Deep Kings and their army of Drudge – former humans (I think) who have been forcibly converted into monstrosities that worship the Deep Kings. One of the most interesting things about this series is the land known as the Misery; a polluted magical wasteland created in an act of total magical war, where the sky itself is cracked and the former inhabitants are beings feared by mankind and the Drudge alike. It is action packed, gory and contains some almost Lovecraftian elements. I can’t say much more, lest I go into spoiler territory. Oh yeah, Crowfoot communicates with Galharrow by having his crow tattoo literally rip its way out of his flesh. Not a spoiler. Just worth mentioning.
The Godblind Trilogy – Anna Stephens
“Dear lord, why? Why? WHY?!”
“Make it stop! Please!
“No, don’t fucking make it stop like that! Argh!”
The above are things I said when reading one of the most gruesome execution / torture / religious sacrifice scenes I have ever come across. You’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about when you read it. This series by Anna Stephens is not for the faint of heart. As I said, no spoilers here, so the simplest way to describe this is a religious war between the worshippers of different gods. This is grimdark fantasy at it’s best. It starts with a bang and doesn’t stop banging. You really get the impression that Anna Stephens was laughing maniacally when writing some of the scenes in these books.
Only two of the three have been released so far – Godblind and Darksoul – with Bloodchild due to be released imminently. Go read them!
There you have it. Three series I think you should read. Until next time, have fun reading!